Tom Nastos had been chief executive officer and president of ENK International for three years when Advanstar bought
the trade show in 2012. He kept that title at Advanstar, and when the company was acquired by UBM last year, he was named ceo and president of UBM/Advanstar’s Fashion Group. At WWDMAGIC, he will be charged with taking the show into the next 20 years.
This story first appeared in the August 12, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“At the core of what we do is connecting buyers and sellers, so that part is not changing,” Nastos said. “But one of the big differences is we are living in a much more digital and mobile world. So our events are evolving. Our focus has always been return on investment for our exhibitors, and we want that to get better.”
What’s the next 20 years going to look like? Buyers are always looking for new, so we are always going to be looking for newness and product launches. Ultimately, we want to really find those brands and help them become the next great brand. That’s our responsibility and so key to the health of our industry, and there’s no better place to get that opportunity than at WWDMAGIC.
How will technology change WWDMAGIC?
Technology increases productivity for exhibitors and retailers. We have to be able to make it faster and easier to shop. It’s going to be much more social — connectivity will be enhanced within our shows because that’s the community that will power us for the next decade. Everyone has a device already, so we are using the power they already have in their device to heighten opportunities. They can schedule appointments, get there on time, know where they are going and digitally do their business on the floor.
What will tech never be able to replace?
It’s not only the face-to-face interaction, but it’s important to see the product properly presented and to see how it’s fitted, so you should be seeing the product as it’s meant to be presented in your retail environment.
How do you plan to attract more international buyers?
We’ve always been an international show. Consumers themselves always look for new, and that’s what international buyers are looking for. Discovery is a big attraction, so we’re emphasizing those aspects.
Do you foresee increasing the size of the show?
Yes, as new categories explode, I can see that driving greater exhibitor and retailer attendees. Activewear, for example, was consumer-market driven, as was men’s wear. Women’s wear will always have that newness. So our teams are making it a priority to find new talent and new brands.
Are you still on the lookout for more acquisitions?
If it falls within an opportunity that would enhance our exhibitors and our global customers. Asia, South America, Europe and the Middle East are markets we can now reach with UBM. We want to find ROI solutions for our exhibitors across the globe so we’re looking at all different markets — but it has to be strategic and it has to make sense. I don’t have any breaking news right now.
What other incentives are you offering to drive attendance and expansion?
Our private client services group works with exhibitors specifically to maximize their opportunities within our portfolio. We want to tailor opportunities for them to do business and really be a partner, rather than just say, “Here, you do it all.” Our retail team has all the data, so we can match retail groups with clients to increase the chances of success for people coming to the shows.